Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tapping Into Your Creative Strength

I'm so inspired to write/read about creativity and ways to tap into your creative flow lately. I think so many artists and creative thinkers hit a wall from time to time, allowing stress or life or just "something" to stop their brain and heart from working together to create new ideas and projects.

That's where I am right now... I have orders backing up, with more coming in everyday. I've been doing a pretty good job keeping on top of orders and cranking them out at an alarming speed for how long my process takes. But yesterday, I just couldn't do it. I couldn't look at another stone coaster, sign and mat another collage print, prime another canvas... heck, I couldn't even bring myself to unload my car from this past Sunday's art exhibit.

While surfing the web I found this article from creativebits.org about ways to get your creative juices flowing and it really hit a chord with me. I realized that I needed to change it up... do something different, recharge myself in some way.

So, I took a vacation just to clear my mind. Ok... so I checked my email, my shop and twitter a few times! But NO work in the studio.

I spent the day with my kids. We played in the sun. My little boy swung in his new baby swing and felt the grass on his tiny toes for the first time. We took a long walk and ate way too many popsicles. We watched a kids' movie, had mac and cheese for dinner and snuggled on the couch until bedtime. It was refreshing!

I must admit that the stress started to creep in again as I checked my email only to find more orders but I just pushed it out of my mind and focused on freeing myself from it.

And, I think it worked! I woke up this morning feeling generally refreshed and ready to work. I even developed two new ideas yesterday while on the walk with my kids. Two new product ideas is HUGE!

Now, to find the time to work on them!

What's your greatest way to recharge or find those few golden moments of creativity a day? How do you keep it from getting "old?" I'll pick my favorite suggestion and send you a package of Painted Lily goodies just to say thank you for the inspiration! :)


Jen said...

I wish I knew! I feel like I am scraping for ways to balance all of this everyday. I will check back for more suggestions though:) I do agree, that relishing those moments with the little ones can lend inspiration. It comes when I don't expect it. On another note, I almost bought this image in a replica metal sign for my laundry room wall (lots of metal signs there) on Sunday at Shupp's!

Jenny said...

I know about trying to balance it all... it's really hard! I was just sitting here, feeding the baby, mentally clicking thru all my to-dos for the day wondering how it was all going to get done. It's hard to keep up the creative momentum when interrupted with little tugs on my sleeve, laundry issues and a sink piling up with yesterday's dishes. I can only embrace the beautifully imperfect nature of this life I've chosen and adapt to a crazy flow and balance of the creative and the "normal" life.

A replica metal sign of this image would be quite a find! You've got to go back! I'm hoping to get out there one week for a Crafty By Nature. I was registered for the 1st month last year but got rained out, then had the baby and the rest is history!

Did you have a booth there or just visit?

111collagedesign said...

I have also been feeling like I need a creative boost lately. I have decided to go back and revisit the Artist's Way program/book by Julia Cameron. I have already done it twice but it is very powerful! One of the main principles is that your Artist is a child, and needs to play and have fun regularly!

Jen said...

great way to embrace it Jenny:)
I just went to visit this month setting up July & Aug. I am kicking myself for not getting that sign. $10.rrr.

Jenny said...

Ohhh, The Artist's Way! I studied that years ago and really ought to revisit it too. I'm sure it's still in my personal library. I'm off to check right now!

Thanks for the great tip!

katie said...

Creativity is a vehicle you have to consciously fuel in order for it to run properly or at all.

For me (and my life with a toddler and a newborn), having taken a long break from creating anything but this human being, the fuel comes from getting back into the groove of making. And the ideas just swarm.

For you, mired in piled-up work, a little r&r with the fam does the trick. Whatever your routine, change it up a bit, and new doors will open.

Jenny, you can borrow my copy of The Artist's Way if you want!

Jenny said...


I remember when I was pregnant telling my husband that I simply couldn't do anything because I was busy creating human life. I think that's a fine excuse! :)

I've found my copy of The Artist's Way and will be re-delving into it tonight.

Jen S. said...

I think the only way I can recharge is to walk away from the studio for a couple days or so. The creative mind is like any muscle - it becomes fatigued and needs to recoup after doing a boatload of work.

I'd never thought that doing household chores would actually be a break, but it can be when I find that I am becoming overwhelmed. I'll also do something like watch a movie, read, or take the dogs to the local dog park. Anything, really, to get my mind away from the studio.

artyowza said...

How I recharge creatively...

1. Bend over and look at things upside down

2. Lace up my shoelaces in a new pattern. Put my shoes on before I get dressed. Try my left shoe on my right foot for a second to see what it feels like.

3. Talk to strangers. Listen to stories. Ask for help. Linger. Do it again.

4. Eat a yellow vegetable. Eat a new food at a new place. Eat dessert first with a fork

5. Sing all the Christmas Songs known. Give a Christmas gift in July. Take a photos of myself with a paper Santa beard

Kate England said...

Jenny, this is such an interesting topic!

I find I need to step back from the information stream now and then. Turn off the internet, which can be such a time vampire. Step away from FB and Twitter and give some space for inner silence. Then I can return and connect...

I also love finding inspiration off the internet. On a walk, in the garden, on trips, in museums...

It's so important to remember that creativity has cycles, and that we can't always be "productive", part of the process is to recharge and to find new ideas.

Again, thanks for this post! A great read and reminder to recharge!

Jenny said...

Jen S.

I totally agree about household chores being great for cleaning out my mind and refreshing myself creatively. I think it's the mindless plowing away at dirty dishes, straightening up or folding laundry that just sort of frees up space in our lives and minds.

Jenny said...


You really make me smile... I love your backwards look at life as a way to see things differently and find unique inspiration!

And I'm always a fan of eating dessert first!

Jenny said...


Thank you for reminding us all that creativity comes in cycles. I think that the ebb and flow is essential to the creative process, just like there would be no fruitful spring without the cold rest of winter. In this go, go, go world, it's sometimes difficult to remember to rest and recharge.

Thanks so much for your thoughts!

annabella said...

I've been having this problem consistently lately. Of course trying to work 3 jobs is part of it but I noticed it falling off when I got my "new" primary job. There was just so much to learn and engage with!

Now the primary job is becoming a lot more routine and I'm dropping back to 2 jobs so I'm hoping to kick start my creativity. Thanks for the ideas!

Because I'm a fiber artist I often find myself inspired by the medium I'm working with. So when I'm really stuck I'll pull out all the yarn in my posession and lay it all around the living room. Just the tactile activity of touching it and dreaming can sometimes set me off on new creative adventures. :) Same thing with my beading - half the time I forget what I have in there and pulling it all out and looking it over is helpful in restarting my creativity.

Of course, having a cleaner house would help too....

Kanisha said...

Before I give you my prescription for
"recharging creatively" and it not getting old, I have to comment on your busyness and how your product is desired by so many. Woot, woot to you. That's awesome. I have yet to sell any of my artwork from my etsy shop or have one client for my design biz :(
So just hearing how well you are doing is amazing to hear. But of course the other side of that is being overwhelmed when the work comes on. But I just wanted to congratulate you on financing your life through a means that makes your heart sing.
On with it now to answer your question... wait for it....
1. Stare into space. I'm serious. Take sometime to download into the air everything on your mind and just be. Get in touch with your heartbeat. Build in time for this throughout the day. Maybe every 3 hours or after you finish a milestone in your day. This never gets old.
2. Start the day doing some creative caffeine exercises. If you have a journal, do a stream of consciousness through illustration, then words. Then maybe pick a theme to illustrate around. Don't worry if you aren't a good drawer. Just get it out. You could be scribbling. Some themes to get you started... draw everything around you, draw what's on your walls, draw feelings inside of you, draw what you ate or are eating, draw receipts, draw lists not of what you need to do for the day, but a taxonomy of an event. Chronicle it in every detail. Your mind will be flushed and ready to go for new stuff after this and it never gets old because I'm sure once you get going doing this, you'll find you have tons of stuff to literally draw from.
hope this helps...
be well,kanisha (www.kwellstudio.com)

Jo Anna said...

This is a great question!

I draw with my non-dominant hand for 10 minutes in the morning. I just turn on some tunes and set a times.

I cook a good meal. And remind myself that I am creating something yummy while doing it.

I take a drive through the canyons.

I dress up all fancy and take myself out (or in) on a date.

I have a list of things that inspire me...mostly artists and people that I know. I flood myself with them. I'll watch my favorite movies, talk to my most favorite conversationalists and dance to my favorite songs.

Jenny said...

Thanks everyone for your INCREDIBLE ideas about ways to stay inspired and keep the creative ideas flowing.

Keep 'em coming! I'll be announcing who gets the goodies in about a week!